# Methods and apparatus using pulsed and phased currents in parallel plates, including embodiments for electrical propulsion

First and second parallel conducting plates include arrayed conducting segments, preferably with specific spacing relative to each other and to the separation of the plates. Currents through the conducting segments are pulsed and phased to produce constructive but unequal interference on the two plates. Among other things, the net result of the interference can produce a net force on the device, and in that manner can be used for propulsion. Preferred devices have up 100 segments or more.

## Description

This application is a Continuation In Part of Ser. No. 10/036,893 filed Jan. 4, 2002 now abandoned, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

#### FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is space propulsion systems.

#### BACKGROUND

Space travel requires propulsion systems. Current systems are based upon a chemical propellant, which adds tremendously to the weight of the craft, and is readily expended. Ion propulsion systems have been suggested, but they typically have an output of about 0.1 Newton. Moreover, the output is substantially limited because such devices are thought to be non-scalable. See e.g., 20040245407, 20040223852, 20040164205, 20040161332, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,786,035, and 6,732,978. These and all other cited materials are incorporated herein by reference.

What is needed is a propulsion system that is non-chemically based to support greater longevity, and is scalable to provide greater output than previously contemplated ion thrusters.

#### SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides apparatus and methods in which first and second parallel conducting plates, distance a apart, include a plurality of arrayed segments, at least some of the segments on each of the plates has a length of l, wherein 0<l≦100a; and a first current of pulse width p**1** that passes through at least one of the segments of the first plate, wherein 0<p**1**≦3a/2c, and c is the speed of light.

In preferred embodiments the first current has frequency of between 0.5 and 1000 gHz, more preferably between 0.75 and 100 gHz. In general, the preferred frequency is c/(3a)±25%. The wave form of such current is preferably a step wave, with a duty cycle between 0.5 and 0.8, more preferably between 0.6 and 0.7, and most preferably about ⅔. Alternatively, the wave form can be constructed from sinusoids and/or exponentials. Typically, there will be a different current in each of the plates, the different currents being out of phase by 2π/3±20%

The plates are preferably constructed of a non-conducting medium, and can include any realistic number of segments. Preferred devices have at least 10 segments, more preferably at least 20 segments, but can advantageously include of up 100 segments, or even up to 1000 segments or more. The segments in each plate are preferably arranged in an orthogonal array, as for example a rectangular array, which can include one or more holes (missing segments).

The segments can comprise any suitable conductor, including one or more conventional conductors and/or superconductors.

The claimed apparatus and methods can be utilized as a radio jammer, a microwave generator, and as a propulsion device.

Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like components.

#### BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

#### DETAILED DESCRIPTION

**100** and a parallel second plate **200**. Each of the plates **100** and **200** includes an array **105**, **205**, respectively, of conducting segments, **110** and **210**, respectively. To simplify discussions herein, the plates of

First plate **100** is substantially flat, rigid, and nonconductive except for the segments **110**. Plate **100** can, for example, comprise a non- or poorly conducting polymer such as those used in constructing circuit boards. Physical size can range from centimeters to kilometers, with preferred sizes in the meter range. The length doesn't have to equal the width, and indeed the plate **100** need not even be rectangular. The thickness, however, should be considerably less than the length or width (or diameter), preferably at least hundreds of times thinner. Preferred thicknesses are in the mm range. Second plate **200**, can be different in one or more respects from the first plate **100**, but is advantageously almost identical to first plate **100**.

Array **105** comprises a plurality of segments of length a. Array **105** is preferably regular, but can have holes and can be irregular in other ways. Where array **105** is regular, the vertical separation between vertically adjacent segments is advantageously about √{square root over (15)}a, and the horizontal separation between horizontally adjacent segments is advantageously about (√{square root over (15)}−1)a. Other separations are contemplated, however, these stated separations are considered preferable because they reduce destructive signal interference and increase constructive signal interference. Array **205**, can be different in one or more respects from the array **105**, but is advantageously almost identical to array **105**, so that individual segments on the two plates **100**, **200** are aligned next to each other, at a distance a.

Segments **110**, **210** must be electrically conductive. For that purpose the segments can include one or more conventional conductors (Ag, Au, Cu, etc), and/or one or more superconductors (nanotubes, supercooled materials etc). Length of the various segments is preferably a, which is calculated to reduce destructive signal interference and increase constructive signal interference. Operationally suitable lengths for the segments are currently contemplated to be in the centimeter to meter range. The width of the segments is preferably in the mm range, and in many instances the thickness is approximately or exactly the same size as the width. In wires, for example, the width and thickness are effectively the diameter. Other, less desirable dimensions are also contemplated, especially those that vary less than 10 fold from the stated dimensions.

In **110** and **210** are both a, and their separation is also a. In addition, feeder wires **120**, **121**, **220**, **221** lead orthogonally away from the two plates in order to prevent electromagnetic interference between the feeder wires and the conducting segments. The feeder wires are preferably of the same conducting material(s) as the segments to which they connect, and lead to a power supply. There may be different feeder wires for each of the different segments, or a plurality of segments can be serviced by a given feeder wire. The feeder wires are electrically connected to one or more power supplies (directly or indirectly), with different power supplies preferably being used for the different plates. Differences in the phases of signals to the different plates can be managed by the power supply or supplies, or can be provided in any other suitable control mechanism. A very simple phase delay can be implemented by passing the current through a sufficiently long wire.

In **110***a *and **110***b *is b=√{square root over (15)}a, and the distance between exemplary segments **210***a *and **210***b *is b=√{square root over (15)}a. Since the distance between **110***a *and **210***a *is a, the diagonal distance between **210***a *and **110***b *is **4***a. *Also in this figure the preferred vertical distance between **110***b *and **110***c *is b=√{square root over (15)}a. The same distance preferably holds for vertical distances between other vertically adjacent segments. However, as discussed above, all of these distances are merely preferences, designed to optimize operation.

In ^{2})}a. For example, if n=3, then the distance between **110***a *and **210***n *is √{square root over (1+15*3^{2})}a.

In ^{2}+n^{2}))}a. For example, if n=3, and m=2, then the distance between **110***a *and 210 nm is √{square root over (1+15(2^{2}+3^{2}))}a.

In **150***a *of plate **100** has a duty cycle of ⅔. The frequency is c/(3a). In alternative embodiments, wave **150***b *is constructed of sinusoids, and wave **150***c *is constructed of exponentials. The frequency is preferably c/(3a), although it could range between 0.5 and 1000 gHz, more preferably between 0.75 and 100 gHz. In general, the preferred frequency is c/(3a)±25%.

In **150***a *of plate **100** is shown to be 2π/3 phase delay with respect to step wave **250***a *of plate **200**.

In **105** includes segments **110**(**0**,**0**), **110**(**0**,**1**), **110**(**0**,**2**), **110**(**1**,**0**), **110**(**1**,**1**), and **110**(**1**,**2**), where the index (**0**,**0**) is the local origin for this analysis, and the index (n,m) indicates, the segment n vertically and m horizontally form the origin. Similar nomenclature applies for array **205**. Time proceeds along the abscissa axis, left to right. Each portion of the graph **8***a, ***8***b, ***8***c, ***8***d, ***8***e, ***8***f, *has thin lines **160**–**164** and **260**–**263**, and thick lines **170** and **270**. Thin lines **160**–**164** represent the on period in a given pulse at segment **110**(**0**,**0**). Thin lines **260**–**263** represent the on period in a given pulse at segment **210**(**0**,**0**). Thick line **170** represent the arrival of the **210**(**0**,**0**) signal on a given segment **110**(m,n) of plate **100**, and thick line **270** represent the arrival of the segment **110**(**0**,**0**) signal on a given segment **210**(m,n) of plate **200**. Among other things, **110**(**0**,**0**) have less optimal interference. Obviously, any segment in array **105** can be considered **110**(**0**,**0**) in the analysis.

As used herein, the term “relative overlap” refers to the paired segments, **110**(**0**,**0**) & **210**(m,n), and means the period for which the **110**(**0**,**0**) signal arrives simultaneously while segment **210**(n,m) is conducting. The term “relative overlap” applies similarly to the paired segments, **210**(**0**,**0**) & **110**(m,n), and means the period for which the **210**(**0**,**0**) signal arrives simultaneously while segment **110**(n,m) is conducting. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that in portion **8***a *the relative overlap of plate **100** on plate **200** is 1 (i.e., 100%), and the relative overlap of **200** on plate **100** is zero. In portion **8***b *the corresponding relative overlaps are 1 and 0 (zero); in portion **8***c *the relative overlaps are 8−7.810=0.19 and 1−(8−7.810)=0.81; in portion **8***d *the relative overlaps are 1 and 0; in portion **8***e *the relative overlaps are 0 and 6−5.568=0.432; in portion **8***f *the relative overlaps are 0 and 9−8.718=0.282. See formulae accompanying descriptions of

Uses

A device containing plates **100** and **200**, operated using the signal timing shown in

In addition, it is also contemplated that the device can be used to produce propulsion. Support for that use is based upon relativistic analysis.

_{eL}

_{pL}

_{eH}

_{pH}

_{0}

_{0}

The force δF on δh at point h is composed of electrostatic and electrodynamic components:

component [1]: Electrostatic force in the rest frame of λ

_{pL }and λ

_{pH}, due to the interaction of δ/λ

_{pL }and δhλ

_{pH}; this is a repulsive force, hence denoted −ve:

component [2]: Electrostatic force in the rest frame of λ_{eL }and λ_{eH}, due to the interaction of δ/λ_{eL }and δhλ_{eH}; this is a repulsive force, hence denoted −ve:

component [3]: Relativistic electrodynamic force in the rest frame of λ_{pL}, due to the interaction of δ/λ_{pL }and δhλ_{eH}; this is an attractive force, hence denoted +ve:

where δh′ is given by the Lorentz length contraction

Hence this force component is

component [4]: Relativistic electrodynamic force in the rest frame of λ_{pH}, due to the interaction of δ/λ_{eL }and δhλ_{pH}; this is an attractive force, hence denoted +ve:

Similarly, as for component [3], relativistic Lorentz length contraction gives

Hence this force component is

The factors

in [3], and

in [4] are due to the apparent increase in charge density in a moving frame. The velocity v is the electron drift velocity, i.e., the current through the wire. Then from the viewpoint of the rest frame the length δh contracts to

as illustrated in

The total charge within δh remains unchanged, since charge is invariant under relativistic transformation. However, the length δh itself is not invariant; hence the actual charge λδh now appears to occupy a shorter length, δh′, and so the charge density appears to increase by the factor

Then the force δF on segment δh is the sum of the forces from components [1], [2], [3] and [4]:

Having derived the force δF in terms of these 4 components, the expression can now be simplified by noting that λ_{pL}=λ_{pH }and λ_{eL}=λ_{eH}. Also, since attractive and repulsive components were ascribed their appropriate signs in components [1], [2], [3] and [4], all the λ terms represent the absolute charge density, so λ_{e}=λ_{p }(for L and H).

These simplifications represent notational changes only; the physical properties are unchanged. Thus

The term

can be re-expressed by the binomial expansion for (1−x)^{−1/2}:

Applying this to the parenthesized term in the expression for δF above,

Typically the drift velocity v≈10^{−4 }ms^{−1},

and

Hence

dominates in the expansion above. Using this approximation δF becomes,

Given that c>>v, this approximation will now be used in equality form in the continuation of this derivation, with no significant loss of accuracy. Thus δF is expressed as

This is the attractive force on δh, in the direction of r, due to the equal currents in wire segments δl and δh. The perpendicular force between the wires is δF_{x}=δF cos θ, where cos

Therefore

Given this expression for the force attributable to small segments δl and δh on their respective wires L and H, it's now possible to find the total force on wire H by integrating over the interested lengths of the wires over their respective limits. First, the force on δh due to the entire wire L between limits l_{1 }and l_{2 }is simply the integral of δF_{x }over L. Call this δF_{h}:

The limits in l need to be expressed in terms of position h, since they are measured from δh, situated at point h.

Then the total force on wire H between limits h_{1 }and h_{2}, is the integral of δF_{h }over H.

Call this F:

Substitute in r^{2}=a^{2}+l^{2 }(from

Simplify,

Substitute in

The integral over l is soluble with the standard integral

Apply the limits:

This can be integrated using the standard integral:

Apply the limits:

This is the general form for the force on wire H along length h_{2}−h_{1 }caused by the current in wire L along length l_{2}−l_{1}. This is equation (i) used as the basis of the force calculations set forth below.

To corroborate this form consider equal lengths and alignment of lengths L and H so that h_{1}=l_{1 }and h_{2}=l_{2}. Then h_{1}−l_{1}=0, h_{2}−l_{2}=0 and h_{2}−l_{1}=l_{2}−h_{1}=L (say).

Then

and the force per meter is

For very long L such that L>>a

Finally, for the infinite wire scenario

Rationalize the units to force per unit length:

Then for a=1 m and I=1A,

This is in accordance with the ampere definition of two “infinitely” long wires each carrying 1A, separated by 1 m in vacuum: “The ampere is that steady current which when it is flowing in each of two infinitely long straight parallel wires which have negligible areas of cross-section and are 1 meter apart in vacuum, causes each conductor to exert a force of 2×10^{−7 }N on each meter of the other.”

Action Motor

A practical propulsion device can utilize the principles set forth herein to great advantage. Such a device, referred to as an “action motor” herein, can advantageously consist of two parallel plates of super-conducting elements mounted in a non-conducting substrate. Current is pulsed through the conducting elements in a controlled manner to produce forces on one plate, but not on the other. The best way to understand the form and function of the action motor is to consider it from first principles. Once these principles are understood, the design follows.

Two idealized parallel current-carrying conducting wires experience attractive forces according to electrodynamic form (i.e., relativistic form) of Coulomb's equation,

In a steady state condition, with equal current in both segments, the attractive forces are experienced by both wires. However, the signal from wire L takes a finite, non-zero time to reach wire H, that time being a/c, where a is the separation of the two wires and c is the velocity of light, in the relevant medium. This can be used to generate non-symmetric forces in L and H by pulsing current I through them as illustrated in

*p*=pulse duration=*T/*3

*T*=time of one cycle=1/*f*

*f*=drive frequency in Hz

*f=c*/(3*a*)where a=segment length=plate separation in meters

Distance a is fixed for a particular action motor, but is flexible to support action motors of different scales. Typical values for a would range from 1 cm to 1 km. For example, if a=1 cm, i.e., 10^{−2 }m, then

*f=*3×10^{8}/(3×10^{−2})=10^{10 }Hz, i.e., 10 GHz

*T=*1/10^{10}=10^{−10 }seconds, and p=10^{−10}/3 seconds

This is the basic principle of the action motor. The one-way force is multiplied by using an array of elements, each of length a, optimally separated by gaps of length (√{square root over (15)}−1)a parallel to current, and by gaps of length √{square root over (15)}a normal to the current. The geometric arrangements are shown in section views in

For the next analysis, consider a segment pair, i.e., just 2 of the current segments, one in each plate, called segment **110** and segment **220** in plate **100** and plate **200** respectively, as shown in

Period 1: when segment **110** is conducting.

Period 2: the timing of these currents is such that when segment **210** is conducting in period 2, it simultaneously receives the magnetic field generated by segment **110** in period 1; the time delay is attributable to the magnetic field traveling out from segment **110** at the speed of light in the medium. Since segment **210** is conducting and simultaneously experiencing the magnetic field from segment **110**, then segment **210** experiences an attractive force towards segment **110**.

Period 3: neither segment is conducting and so neither segment experiences a force.

Period 4: in period 4, segment **110** is conducting but it does not experience a magnetic force from segment **210** since segment **210** was not conducting in period 3, hence segment **110** does not experience a force.

The sum effect of periods 2, 3, 4, i.e. one cycle is as follows:

Period 2: segment **210** experiences an attractive force towards segment **110**

Period 3: no force experienced by either segment

Period 4: no force experienced by either segment

Over this 3 period interval the net effect is a force on segment **210**, directed toward segment **110**.

The same effect occurs in periods (5, 6, 7) and periods (8, 9, 10) and so on. The net effect over time is a force on segment **210**, directed toward segment **110**. Since the segments are fixed in the plates, the net effect of the current waves is a force on plate **200**; and since plate **200** is fixed in the device, the whole device experiences a force directed from plate **200** to plate **100**.

Note that in **200** there is no force effect on any segment of either plate, since all magnetic fields are moving away from the device. Similarly for plate **100**: as magnetic fields propagate in direction −z from the segments of plate **100** there is no force effect on any segment of either plate, since all magnetic fields are moving away from the device. Also, the energy of the radiated magnetic fields dissipated away from the device is symmetric for the two plates and so is zero: The only force experienced by the device is that of plate **200** in its conducting segments.

Physical Description

The action motor comprises two plates of conducting segments, distance a apart,

Each plate contains an array of conducting segments mounted in a non-conducting substrate,

The conductors of each plate are pulsed with current I at a frequency dependent on the separation of the plates,

The currents in the two plates are phased,

The segment feeder wires are arranged perpendicularly to the plate surface, so as to not interfere with the plate force

Each plate has M elements in the x direction, and N elements in the y direction.

M is fixed for a particular action motor, but this patent covers designs for any M.

Similarly N is fixed for a particular action motor, but this patent covers designs for any N.

Typical devices would use M and N in the order of 100 to 1000. M and N may be equal, but they need not be equal.

Magnitude of the Force Produced

The net force produced by the action motor is independent of the size of the separation a (a cancels in the force derivation); as far as physical dimensions are concerned, the net force depends only on M and N. So for example, a action motor having M=N=100, a=0.1 meter, will produce the same force as a action motor having M=N=100, a=10 meters.

The net force on the action motor is calculated by considering the net force due to each segment in Plate **100** interacting with each segment of Plate **200**. I.e. the force due to a single segment is calculated by summing the contributions from its neighboring segments on the opposite plate. The total force on the action motor is the sum of all the forces on the individual segments.

Individual Segment Interactions

Nomenclature: in the analysis that follows, the indices m and n are relative cardinal segment displacements in x and y. Index (**0**,**0**) in Plate **100** represents the Plate **100** segment under examination (the relative origin). Indexes (m,n) represent neighboring segments in Plate **200**, such that Plate **200** (**0**,**0**) is the segment pair companion of Plate **100** (**0**,**0**), see

F_{m,n }is the force experienced on Plate **200** (m,n) due to current in Plate **100** (**0**,**0**).

From equation (i), the force between any two parallel wires is:

Where a is the distance shown in ^{2})}a as in

Substitute in values

Substitute in A^{2}=a^{2}+n^{2}15a^{2}=a^{2}(1+15n^{2})

collect terms:

Segment forces calculated with this equation are shown in Table 1.

_{m,n}/Newtons (×I

^{2})

To illustrate the plate force, consider a action motor of size M×N=2×3, as depicted in the non-shaded cells of Table 1.

Due to symmetry, F_{m,n}=F_{m,n }

Timing Differences

The forces in Table 1 need to be adjusted to recognize the partial Plate **100** and Plate **200** forces attributable to timing differences. In the ideal situation, as occurs in segment (m,n) and its four nearest neighbors, the Plate **100** contribution is 0% and the Plate **200** contribution is 100%. This ideal does not extend to the more distant neighbors due to Plate **100** to Plate **200** segment separations not being exact multiples of (1+3J)a, where J is an integer and a is the plate separation. Timing differences are illustrated in **5**.

From FIG. **5**, *B=*√{square root over (1+15(*m*^{2}*+n*^{2}))}*a*

Line of sight distances for the unshaded segments of Table 1 are shown in Table 2:

Explanation of

The overlap of the Plate **100** (**0**,**0**) signal with Plate **200** (m,n) produces an attractive force on Plate **200** which is beneficial to the net force on the action motor. Contrary-wise, the overlap of the Plate **200** (m,n) signal on Plate **100** (**0**,**0**) produces an attractive force on Plate **100** which is detrimental to the action motor. The time units of

*p*=pulse duration=*T/*3, *T*=time of one cycle=1/*f, f*=drive frequency in Hz

*f=c*/(3*a*) where *a*=segment length=plate separation in meters

Distance a is fixed for a particular action motor, but is flexible to support action motors of different scales.

Typical values for a would range from 1 cm to 1 km

For example, if a=1 cm, i.e., 10^{−2 }m, then

*f=*3×10^{8}/(3×10^{−2})=10^{10 }Hz, i.e., 10 GHz

*T=*1/10^{10}=10^{−10 }seconds, and *p=*10^{−10}/3 seconds

Note: due to the Plate **200** phase shift of p, the Plate **100** arrival times are delayed (right-shifted) by p

From

Applying these multiplicative factors to the non-shaded elements of Table 1 yields Table 4:

^{2})

For simplicity, the cells (**0**,**0**), (**0**,**1**), (**0**,**2**), (**1**,**0**), (**1**,**1**) and (**1**,**2**) above have been labeled A, B, C, D, E, and F respectively.

Then the plate force, F_{p}, is:

*F*_{p}*=F*_{0,0}*+F*_{0,1}*+F*_{0,2}*+F*_{1,0}*+F*_{1,1}*+F*_{1,2}

Where each F_{m,n }is the sum of the six segments on the opposing plate. Then, taking account of the symmetry, F_{m,n}=F_{m,n, }the total action motor force for the 2×3 example is the sum of the six components:

*F*_{0,0}*=A+B+C+D+E+F=*8.829843×10^{−8}*I*^{2}

*F*_{0,1}*=A+B+B+D+E+E=*9.478588×10^{−8}*I*^{2}

*F*_{0,2}*=A+B+C+D+E+F=*8.829843×10^{−8}*I*^{2}

*F*_{1,0}*=A+B+C+D+E+F=*8.829843×10^{−8}*I*^{2}

*F*_{1,1}*=A+B+B+D+E+E=*9.478588×10^{−8}*I*^{2}

*F*_{1,2}*=A+B+C+D+E+F=*8.829843×10^{−8}*I*^{2}

Then using *F*_{p}*=F*_{0,0}*+F*_{0,1}*+F*_{0,2}*+F*_{1,0}*+F*_{1,1}*+F*_{1,2,}

*F*_{p}=5.427655×10^{−7}*I*^{2}

and the average force per segment is

The above analysis is applied to plates of various dimensions as shown below. The numbers show the plate dimension, M×N, the total action motor force, and the average force per segment pair.

^{2})

^{2})

^{−8}

^{−8}

^{−7}

^{−8}

^{−7}

^{−8}

^{−7}

^{−8}

^{−6}

^{−8}

^{−6}

^{−8}

^{−6}

^{−8}

^{−5}

^{−8}

^{−4}

^{−8}

^{−4}

^{−8}

These numbers were calculated using a computer program to implement the method previously described. The 100×100 case took just over 27 hours to complete. For this reason, forces for M, N>100 were not calculated. However, it can be seen from the averages that for large action motor size, the average force per segment, F_{s}, is approximately 8.7×10^{−8 }I^{2 }Newtons.

This force is further augmented by the ⅓ temporal pulse used as the segment current, (

*F*_{s}≈8.7×10^{−8}/3*I*^{2 }Newtons

*F*_{s}≈2.9×10^{−8}*I*^{2 }Newtons

Example action motor applying the above force to plates of 1000×1000 segments carrying 100 Amps:

M=N=1000

I=100 Amps

action motor force *F*_{p}*=M×N×F*_{s}*×I×I *Newtons

action motor force *F*_{p}=1000×1000×2.9×10^{−8}×100×100=290 *N*

As technology advances, it will become possible to build action motors of higher and higher frequency, facilitating a smaller separation, a, and larger M and N values. Similarly, as superconductor technology advances, action motors will be able operate at higher currents.

Consider a case where M=N=100000 and I=1000 Amps, then using

action motor force *F*_{p}*=M×N×F*_{s}*×I×I *Newtons

action motor force *F*_{p}=100000×100000×2.9×10^{−8}×1000×1000=290,000,000 *N*

Thus, specific embodiments and applications of the action motor have been disclosed. It should be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced.

## Claims

1. A method of producing a propulsive force, comprising;

- with respect to a device having: first and second parallel conducting plates, distance “a” apart, each of which includes a plurality of arrayed segments; at least some of the segments on each of the plates has a length of “1”, wherein 0<1≦100a, and a first current of pulse width “p1” that passes through at least one of the segments of the first plate, wherein 0<p1≦3a/2c, and c is the speed of light;

- operating the device wherein the first current has a step wave form with a duty cycle between 0.5 and 0.8.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the step wave has a duty cycle between 0.6 and 0.7.

3. The method of claim 2, further comprising operating the device such that the first and second currents are out of phase by at least 2π/3±20%.

4. A method of producing a propulsive force, comprising:

- with respect to a device having: first and second parallel conducting plates, distance “a” apart, each of which includes a plurality of arrayed segments; at least some of the segments on each of the plates has a length of “1”, wherein 0<1≦100a, and a first current of pulse width “p1” that passes through at least one of the segments of the first plate, wherein 0<p1≦3a/2c, and c is the speed of light;

- operating the device with a second current of pulse width p2 that passes through at least one of the segments of the second plate, and wherein the first current is out of phase with the second current.

## Referenced Cited

#### U.S. Patent Documents

3171086 | February 1965 | Horst |

4888522 | December 19, 1989 | Weingart |

6732978 | May 11, 2004 | Ockels et al. |

6786035 | September 7, 2004 | Stickelmaier |

20040161332 | August 19, 2004 | Rabinowitz et al. |

20040164205 | August 26, 2004 | Kellberg |

20040223852 | November 11, 2004 | Hartley |

20040245407 | December 9, 2004 | D'Ausilio et al. |

## Patent History

**Patent number**: 7190108

**Type:**Grant

**Filed**: Feb 25, 2005

**Date of Patent**: Mar 13, 2007

**Patent Publication Number**: 20050248252

**Inventor**: Benjamin La Borde (Irvine, CA)

**Primary Examiner**: Tran Nguyen

**Attorney**: Rutan & Tucker, LLP

**Application Number**: 11/065,784

## Classifications

**Current U.S. Class**:

**Miscellaneous (e.g., Electrolytic Light Source) (313/358);**Traveling Wave Tube With Delay-type Transmission Line (315/3.5); Traveling Wave Type (331/82); With Traveling Wave-type Tube (330/43); Of Diode Type (330/287)

**International Classification**: F03H 1/00 (20060101); F03F 3/00 (20060101);